The Law and Grace. Day twenty-nine...
From our perspective today, it's not so easy to understand why 70,000 people died as a result of David's census of the Israelites. But Satan prompted David to number Israel—with disastrous results (see 1 Chronicles 21:1).
Such consequences wouldn't exactly make me feel secure in the Lord's correction. But David felt more secure in the Lord's hands than he did in the hands of man.
And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered
people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have
but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I
done very foolishly.”
Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’”
So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” (2 Samuel 24:10–14 (NKJV)
David chose the three days' plague because He believed this choice of punishment would be in the Lord's hands rather than in the hands of man. David would rather suffer at the hands of the Lord than at the hands of men.
David believed in the mercy of the Lord, and David lived under the law. Shouldn't we also believe in the mercy of the Lord—especially since we no longer have to live under the law, but can live under God's grace?
Accounts in the Old Testament like this one, however, don't inspire us to feel secure in the Lord's correction and direction.
We all too often live in fear of the hammer dropping. We get some good news but can't really celebrate it because we think, “I wonder when the other shoe will drop?” The doctor says, “You're cancer free!” and we immediately respond with, “Yeah, but for how long?”
We have blamed God for so long for so many of our troubles that we have great difficulty imagining any of the stuff coming against as anything other than the consequences of our sin.
This is no way to live.
And rather than to take responsibility for going after (in the name of Jesus) what is going after us, we accept much of what comes against us as the punishment for our sins—the just reward for what we've done wrong.
Such surrender to circumstances is another manifestation of having a conscience of sins.
But we would never fall for this deception if we better understood how God deals with our discipline in the context of His grace.
There's a certain amount of correction that just naturally goes along with God's direction. Our challenge is to listen to that, and not to a guilty conscience.
We must consider how much hostility Jesus endured from sinners to accomplish His purposes, or we will become weary and discouraged.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from
against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have
exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the
chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:3–11 (NKJV)
There's a certain amount of correction and direction that just naturally goes along with being a son—one of God's children. Our challenge is to listen to the Lord's chastening, and not to a guilty conscience.
Have a good day,